Pennsylvania Short Line Railroads

Published: October 17, 2022

By: Adam Burns

Aliquippa & Ohio River Railroad

(Reporting mark, AOR)The A&OR is another railroad owned by Genesee & Wyoming operating just a short stretch of track (6 miles) north of Pittsburgh with a connection to CSX.  

It has been in operation since 2002 although the property's history dates back to Aliquippa & Southern Railroad of 1906 incorporated by the Jones & Laughlin Steel Company to serve its local mill.  It has been G&W-owned since 2008 and hauls aggregates, plastics, and cement.

Allentown & Auburn Railroad

(Reporting mark, ALLN):  This short line began in 2015 and operates just over 4 miles of a former Reading Railroad branch between Kutztown and an interchange with Norfolk Southern at Topton.

The railroad also offers public excursions, utilizing a restored, early SW locomotive that was originally built for the Philadelphia, Bethlehem & New England in March, 1937.  The trips are hosted with three cabooses, one coach, and an open flatcar. 

Allegheny Valley Railroad

(Reporting mark, AVR) This short line is one of several owned by Carload Express, Inc. and has been in service since 1992.  It operates 77 miles of former PRR trackage around Pittsburgh and handles a wide range of freight with multiple connects to other carriers including CSX, NS, Buffalo & Pittsburgh, and Wheeling & Lake Erie.

Belvidere & Delaware River Railway

(Reporting mark, BDRV):  This short line began service in 1995 when it acquired former Conrail trackage in western New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania between West Easton, Phillipsburg, and Milford.

Brandywine Valley Railroad

(Reporting mark, BVRY):  This short line is located in Coatesville, operating as far as Modena (about 2 miles), and has been in service since 1981.  It has been under various ownership over the years and is currently owned by Mittal Steel serving its local operations.  Interchange is provided through NS.

Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad

(Reporting mark, BPRR): This regional is part of the Genesee & Wyoming's large family of railroads, operating 368 miles of trackage in northwestern Pennsylvania and western New York.  The history of the property dates back to the B&O/BR&P, acquired from CSX in 1988.  

It currently serves a multitude of customers moving aggregates, brick/cement, automotive, chemicals, coal, food/feed products, forest products, metallic ores/minerals, and steel/scrap.

Conemaugh & Black Lick Railroad

(Reporting mark, CBL):  This historic switching/terminal road traces its history back to 1923 and operates about 2 miles of track in the Johnstown area to serve a local steel mill. 

Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad

(Reporting mark, DL): The DL is operated by Genesee Valley Transportation and owns about 88 miles of railroad in northeastern Pennsylvania. The railroad is famous among railfans for its use of historic Alco diesel locomotives.  

It has been in operation since 1993 on trackage formerly owned by the Delaware & Hudson (part of the famed Penn Division) and Delaware, Lackawanna & Western.  

It also operates a section of the former Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley, an interurban that disappeared into the DL&W during the 1950s.  Today, the Delaware-Lackawanna's traffic consists of grain, forest products, paper, plastic, clay, steel, petroleum products, chemicals, coal, and aggregates.

East Broad Top Connecting Railroad

(Reporting mark, EBTC):  This common-carrier short line was initiated in 2014 by the East Broad Top Railroad Preservation Association (EBTPA) to provide freight service on its 4.5 miles of the former East Broad Top dual-gauge trackage running from the Norfolk Southern main line outside of Mount Union to Route 522 in Mount Union/Shirley Township (which includes the old yard).  

The new operation will serve a local industrial park and also provide railcar repair services through another subsidiary known as EBT Railcar, LLC.  The remainder of the old EBT is currently owned by the old East Broad Top is owned by the East Broad Top Foundation.

East Penn Railroad

(Reporting mark, ESPN):  This privately-owned short line operates over primarily disconnected branches in southeastern Pennsylvania which also reach into northern Delaware.  

The history of the lines can be traced back to the PRR and Reading, sold by Conrail in the 1990s.  The current road was formed in 2007 through the merger of the East Penn Railway and Penn Eastern Rail Lines.  Currently, it operates 114 miles of track and handles a wide variety of freight.

Everett Railroad

(Reporting mark, EV):  This short line operates former PRR trackage south of Altoona.  Its current system has been in service since 1984 on two separate lines; one between Brookes Mill and Sproul and the other between Martinsburg and Roaring Spring.

Both branches connect with the Hollidaysburg & Roaring Spring (reporting mark, HRS), an Everett subsidiary.  The H&RS then interchanges with NS at Hollidaysburg.  Its entire system totals about 23 miles.  Traffic consists of grain, agriculture, lumber, pulpwood, paper, manufactured materials, and animal feed.

Gettysburg & Northern Railroad

(Reporting mark, GET): The Gettysburg & Northern is owned by the Pioneer Rail Corporation and operates a 25-mile railroad between Gettysburg and Mt. Holly Springs on trackage that was formerly part of the Reading.  Its traffic consists of canned goods, pulpboard, soda ash, grain, and scrap paper.

Juniata Valley Railroad

(Reporting mark, JVRR): This railroad, another owned by the North Shore Railroad Company, began operations in 1996 on trackage (originally PRR) between Lewistown, Burnham, and Maitland. It interchanges with NS at Lewistown and features a livery somewhat similar to that of the Pennsy.

Kiski Junction Railroad

(Reporting mark, KJR): This short line and tourist railroad began operations in 1995 on former PRR trackage near the city of Pittsburgh.  The system predominantly handled coal and also hosted public excursions at various times throughout the year.  (Closed, 2021)

Landisville Terminal & Transfer Company

(Reporting mark, LNVT): This small terminal railroad owns about 2 miles of track near the town of Landisville with a connection to Norfolk Southern.  The system primarily handles agricultural products.

Lehigh Railway

(Reporting mark, LRWY):  RJ Corman acquired this property in August, 2020 from Steve May.  The Lehigh Railway comprises 56 miles of former Lehigh Valley trackage running along the Susquehanna River between Athens and Mehoopany, Pennsylvania.  

Lehigh Valley Rail Management

(Reporting mark, LVRM):  This system acquired the assets of three former short lines and began service on December 30, 2003.  

It currently provides switching and terminal service to the towns of Bethlehem and Johnstown. Its total trackage is about 80 miles including all sidings, yards, and spurs.  Aside from switching they also offer transload and intermodal service.

Luzerne & Susquehanna Railway

(Reporting mark, LSX):  This short line began service in 1994 and today operates about 60 miles between the Wilkes Barre and Scranton areas.  Its traffic has grown steadily over the years and now totals more than 2,000 carloads annually.  It interchanges with Reading & Northern, NS, and Canadian Pacific/Delaware & Hudson.

Lycoming Valley Railroad

(Reporting mark, LVRR):  The Lycoming Valley is another subsidiary of the North Shore Railroad Company.  It has been in service since August 15, 1996 when it acquired former NYC and Reading branches between Avis and Muncy totaling roughly 48.7 miles.  The road's livery is a version of the Reading's popular green and yellow "Bee Line Service" scheme.  It also hosts excursions on the property. 

Maryland Midland Railway

(Reporting mark, MMID): This railroad is part of Genesee & Wyoming's large family of short lines and operates a 70-mile system running roughly east-west between Reisterstown and Fort Ritchie. 

It also owns a north-south corridor between Woodsboro and Taneytown.  It began service in 1980 as an independent and was acquired by G&W in 2007.  The road handles aggregates, brick/cement, chemicals, and forest products.

Middletown & Hummelstown Railroad

(Reporting mark, MIDH):  This popular excursion railroad operating between its namesake towns has been in service since 1976 and is also a freight hauler.  

The line first entered service in 1888 carrying the same name but was ultimately acquired by the Reading and operated as a branch.  Under Conrail the trackage was sold creating today's system.  The M&H has connections with NS at both endpoints of its system.

New Castle Industrial Railroad

(Reporting mark, NCIR):  This terminal/switching road has been in service since 1991 serving customers in the New Castle area utilizing a small fleet of locomotives.

New Hope Railroad

(Reporting mark, NHRR):  Formerly known as the New Hope & Ivyland, the New Hope Railroad is another popular excursion operation that also serves several customers. 

It began service in 1966 over 16.7 miles of the Reading's former New Hope Branch between New Hope and Warminster.  

For public excursions the railroad has three steam locomotives on-hand although only one, 2-8-0 #40 is currently operational and typically handles excursions while its fleet of diesels pull freight assignments.

New York, Susquehanna & Western Railway

(Reporting mark, NYSW):  See New Jersey.

Nittany & Bald Eagle Railroad

(Reporting mark, NBER): The N&BE is another North Shore railroad operating between Tyrone (near Altoona) and Lock Haven as well as a branch serving Pleasant Gap and State College.

Overall, the railroad operates about 82 miles of track and has multiple connections to Norfolk Southern. It began in 1984 by acquiring the property from Conrail that was once a PRR branch.  Its blue and white livery is a nod to Penn State University.

Northampton Development Center Railroad

(Reporting mark, NDC):  This short line began operations in 1986 as a switching line to serve a half mile of industrial trackage at Northampton, Pennsylvania.  This track is all that remains of the historic Northampton & Bath Railroad.

North Shore Railroad

(Reporting mark, NSHR):  This short line began operations in 1984 over ex-Conrail trackage between Northumberland and Hicks Ferry, Pennsylvania (44 miles).  

This is the founding short line that now includes five others including the Juniata Valley Railroad, Lycoming Valley Railroad, Nittany & Bald Eagle Railroad, Shamokin Valley Railroad, and Union County Industrial Railroad.  Combined these systems comprise 247.2 miles.  Interchange is carried out with NS and Reading & Northern at various points.

Oil Creek & Titusville Lines

(Reporting mark, OCTL):  This operation is the freight division of the Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad, an excursion service that utilizes about 16.5 miles of a former PRR branch between Titusville and Rynd Farm.  It has been in service since 1986 when the line was acquired from Conrail.

Pennsylvania Northeastern Railroad

(Reporting mark, PN):  This short line began service in 2011 and operates over 100 miles of SEPTA-owned property in the Philadelphia region, all of which is ex-Reading trackage. 

The lines include the Bethlehem Branch (Newtown Junction to Telford), Doylestown Branch (Lansdale to Doylestown), New Hope Branch (Glenside to Ivyland), New York Line (Jenkintown to Neshaminy Falls), Stony Creek Line near Lansdale, and services Lansdale Yard in Lansdale.

Pennsylvania & Southern Railway

(Reporting mark, PSCC): This short line is owned by the Raritan Central Railroad and operates between the Cumberland Valley Business Park in Letterkenny to Chambersburg.  The road began service in 2012.

Pennsylvania Southwestern Railroad

(Reporting mark, PSWR): This short line is a Watco Companies property operating 12 miles west of Midland serving local industries with a connection to NS. It began service on April 1, 2003 and handles primarily steel/scrap products.

Pittsburgh & Ohio Central Railroad

(Reporting mark, POHC): Another of Genesee & Wyoming's short lines, the P&OC serves the communities located southwest of Pittsburgh along a 35-mile system that was once owned by the PRR and was later part of Ohio Central before being acquired by G&W in 2008.  Its traffic currently consists of chemicals, minerals, plastics and steel.

Pittsburgh, Allegheny & McKees Rocks Railroad

(Reporting mark, PAM):  This small short line, owned by the McKees Rocks Industrial Enterprise, is based in McKees Rocks and provides switching services for local industries.

Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad

(Reporting mark, RBMN):  Often recognized simply as the Reading & Northern, this successful Class II, regional began humbly in September of 1983 when it acquired a 12-mile segment of a former PRR branch between Hamburg and Temple.

Since then, it has grown prodigiously purchasing former segments of the Reading, Lehigh Valley, and Jersey Central trackage from Conrail that currently provides it an expansive system stretching from Reading to Scranton and several points in between.  

The R&N hauls anthracite coal and a variety of other products while also offering excursions to the public via its Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway in Jim Thorpe.

R.J. Corman Railroad - Allentown Lines

(Reporting mark, RJCN):  This RJ Corman line has been in service since 1996 when it acquired a former Lehigh Valley branch from Conrail.  Today its property covers 14.5 miles between Allentown and nearby Fullerton.

R.J. Corman Railroad - Pennsylvania Lines

(Reporting mark, RJCP):  This particular RJ Corman operation began service in 1995 operating 207 miles of trackage between Cresson and Keating.  The property is largely former PRR and NYC secondary branches and it primarily handles coal movements today while other traffic consists of brick, lumber and rock salt.

Shamokin Valley Railroad

(Reporting mark, SVRR): Another of North Shore's railroads, this short line began service in 1983, operating between Northumberland and Mt. Carmel Junction and connecting with Norfolk Southern, Canadian Pacific, and the Reading & Northern.  It owns 24.7 miles of track that was formerly Reading and PRR property.

SMS Rail Service, Inc.

(Reporting mark, SLRS):  See New Jersey.

Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad

(Reporting mark, SWP):  Formed in 1995, this short line is another subsidiary of Carload Express, Inc. operating 66 miles of trackage between Greensburg and Smithfield.  Located southeast of Pittsburgh the property is former B&O and PRR branches.

Stourbridge Railway

(Reporting mark, STRY): This short line operates about 24 miles of former Erie trackage between Honesdale and Lackawaxen Township with a connection to Norfolk Southern located there.

It began service on April 1, 1976, the same day as Conrail, and was then known as the Lackawaxen & Stourbridge Railroad until 1989 when it was changed to the Stourbridge Railroad.  It was then changed again to the Stourbridge Railway in 2009 and the line is currently operated by the Morristown & Erie.

Tyburn Railroad

(Reporting mark, TYBR):  This small short line operates just 1.5 miles of track near Morrisville and interchanges with CSX and NS at Fairless.  It offers transload and switching services as well as rail car storage.

Union County Industrial Railroad

(Reporting mark, UCIR)This short line is yet another property owned by North Shore operating between Allenwood and Windfield with a connection to NS at Milto.  It totals 20.4 miles and was formerly owned by the Reading and acquired from Conrail in 1995.

Union Railroad

(Reporting mark, URR)This historic switching/terminal system has been in service since 1896 providing services in Allegheny County and the Pittsburgh area.  The road has long served the region's steel industry and continues to do so with what remains in operation.  It is currently a division of Transtar, Inc.


Upper Merion & Plymouth Railroad

(Reporting mark, UMP):  This short line serves the ArcelorMittal steel mill at Conshohocken, Pennsylvania and currently maintains about 11 miles of track.

Wellsboro & Corning Railroad

(Reporting mark, WCOR): See New York.

Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad

(Reporting mark, WNYP):  See New York.

Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway

(Reporting mark, WE): See Ohio.

York Railway

(Reporting mark, YRC):  The York Railway operates the remnants of the classic Maryland & Pennsylvania, the fabled Ma & Pa, although the actual trackage is a former PRR branch.  It has been in service since 1999 then-owned by Emons Railroad Group and acquired by G&W in 2002.  It currently operates about 42 miles from Hanover to Stonybrook via York.

Youngstown & Southeastern Railroad

(Reporting mark, YSRR): See Ohio.

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Contents

Aliquippa & Ohio River Railroad

Allentown & Auburn Railroad

Allegheny Valley Railroad

Belvidere & Delaware River Railway

Brandywine Valley Railroad

Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad

Conemaugh & Black Lick Railroad

Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad

East Broad Top Connecting Railroad

East Penn Railroad

Everett Railroad

Gettysburg & Northern Railroad

Juniata Valley Railroad

Kiski Junction Railroad

Landisville Terminal & Transfer Company

Lehigh Railway

Lehigh Valley Rail Management

Luzerne & Susquehanna Railway

Lycoming Valley Railroad

Maryland Midland Railway

Middletown & Hummelstown Railroad

New Castle Industrial Railroad

New Hope Railroad

New York, Susquehanna & Western Railway

Nittany & Bald Eagle Railroad

Northampton Development Center Railroad

North Shore Railroad

Oil Creek & Titusville Lines

Pennsylvania Northeastern Railroad

Pennsylvania & Southern Railway

Pennsylvania Southwestern Railroad

Pittsburgh & Ohio Central Railroad

Pittsburgh, Allegheny & McKees Rocks Railroad

Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad

R.J. Corman Railroad - Allentown Lines

R.J. Corman Railroad - Pennsylvania Lines

Shamokin Valley Railroad

SMS Rail Service, Inc.

Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad

Stourbridge Railway

Tyburn Railroad

Union County Industrial Railroad

Union Railroad

Upper Merion & Plymouth Railroad

Wellsboro & Corning Railroad

Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad

Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway

York Railway

Youngstown & Southeastern Railroad

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